Black Tahini Chocolate Sheet Cake

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This black tahini chocolate sheet cake is moist, tender & full of flavour. Finished with a rich, chocolate fudge frosting, this one’s hard to beat!

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black tahini chocolate sheet cake

The ultimate chocolate cake!

This black tahini chocolate sheet cake is super fluffy, incredibly moist & packs a real kick of flavour thanks to a generous amount of black sesame paste & Dutch processed cocoa powder! Not only is it delicious, it’s also quick & easy to make.

Finished with a silky, chocolate fudge frosting, this nutty sheet cake is hard to beat. Plus it makes at least 15 generous portions, so is perfect for sharing!

If you’re a fan of chocolate & tahini, you’ll love our black sesame cheesecake cookies! These cookies are made with a nutty black tahini cookies dough & are stuffed with white chocolate cheesecake. They’re proper tasty!

Ingredient Notes

  • Black Tahini – This is a paste made from black sesame seeds & is available to buy in some supermarkets or online. White tahini can also be used.
  • Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder – Dutch processed cocoa has a more intense flavour & darker colour than the regular stuff. This is ideal for chocolate cake & is available in most supermarkets.
  • Coffee – Adding a small amount of instant coffee to the cake batter enhances the chocolate flavour. Don’t worry, you’re cake won’t taste like coffee!
  • Buttermilk – Using buttermilk in cake batter makes for a tender, moister sponge. As buttermilk is acidic, it will also react with the bicarbonate of soda & make the cake rise. Make sure to use room temperature buttermilk, for a smoother batter.
  • Sugar – The cake batter uses both caster & light brown sugar and the frosting uses icing sugar. It’s important to use the correct sugars, for a moist & flavourful sponge and for the correct frosting consistency.
  • Golden Syrup – Using a small amount of golden syrup in the chocolate frosting gives it a glossy finish. Feel free to leave this out if you haven’t got any.
chocolate sheet cake with frosting

Baking With Black Tahini

Black tahini is like white tahini but is made with black sesame seeds instead of white ones. In terms of flavour, black tahini is a touch more bitter & slightly more nuttier than white tahini but this makes it perfect for baking with, especially with chocolate.

To incorporate tahini into a cake recipe, it’s best to treat it like a fat. This means that in an oil based cake like this one, you’d replace some of the oil with the same amount of tahini. In this case, we’re replacing two thirds of the oil with black tahini which is enough to impart a subtle nutty flavour without overpowering the chocolate flavour.

How To Make Black Tahini Chocolate Sheet Cake

The full, printable recipe card for this sheet cake can be found at the bottom of this post! Here’s a quick rundown of the recipe…

  1. Bloom Cocoa
    First, we mix cocoa powder with instant coffee granules & boiling water then leave it to bloom/cool slightly. This technique is used to intensify the cocoa’s flavour, making our cake even more chocolatey!
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients
    Next, we sift plain flour, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl then mix in table salt, caster sugar & light brown sugar.
  3. Mix Batter
    To the dry ingredients, we add buttermilk, black tahini, veg oil, eggs, a yolk & the cocoa & water mix. We whisk the batter by hand, until combined & smooth then immediately transfer to a lined 9″ x 13″ baking tin.
  4. Bake
    We bake the cake at 180°c/356°f for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Make sure not to open the oven too early though as this can make the cake sink.
  5. Leave To Cool
    Once baked, we let the cake cool completely in the tin before finishing it with the chocolate fudge frosting.
  6. Frosting
    When the cake is completely cool, it can be topped with frosting then served! If you like, you could serve this cake without frosting or with a different type of icing. I’d highly recommend our chocolate fudge frosting though!

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

This chocolate fudge frosting is rich & intensely chocolatey! This style of frosting is ideal for sheet cakes as it won’t set firm (unless it goes in the fridge!) & stays smooth & velvety. Here’s how to make it…

  1. Melt Chocolate
    This frosting is best made with a good dark chocolate (72% cocoa is best!). We roughly chop this up, melt then leave to cool completely.
  2. Bloom Cocoa
    Next, we mix Dutch processed cocoa powder with boiling water (to bloom) then leave this to cool completely as well.
  3. Cream Butter & Sugar
    Once the chocolate is cool, we can make the frosting. First, in a stand mixer, we cream softened butter with a pinch of sea salt & icing sugar, until pale & fluffy. This will take 5 minutes or so. To get an evenly mixed frosting, it’s important that we scrape the mixing bowl down regularly with a spatula.
  4. Beat In Chocolate
    To finish the frosting, we add in the cooled chocolate, the bloomed cocoa & some golden syrup (this gives the frosting a glossy finish) then mix until well combined & smooth.
  5. Chilling
    Once made, the frosting can be used to frost the cooled down sheet cake. I’d recommend chilling the assembled sheet cake in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, to firm up the frosting slightly before serving.
chocolate fudge frosting

Sheet Cake Tips & Tricks

  • Use good quality ingredients – Good butter, eggs, cocoa & chocolate make all the difference when making a homemade chocolate cake!
  • Let ingredients come to room temperature – Using room temperature ingredients is key to making a smooth, well combined batter.
  • Bloom the cocoa powder – Mixing cocoa powder with a hot liquid before adding it to cake batter, intensifies the cocoa’s flavour, making the cake more chocolatey!
  • Add in coffee – Adding a small amount of instant coffee into the cake batter, enhances the chocolate flavour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Dutch processed cocoa powder best for tahini chocolate cake?

Dutch processed cocoa powder has a darker colour & a more intense cocoa flavour which works fantastically in chocolate cakes. Pair this with the nutty flavour from the tahini for the best tasting chocolate cake ever!

Do I have to add coffee to my chocolate sheet cake?

You don’t have to but I’d recommend it! Adding a small amount of instant coffee into the cake batter enhances the flavours from the cocoa. Don’t worry if you don’t like coffee, your cake won’t taste like it!

Is there a substitute for black tahini?

Feel free to use regular tahini in the cake batter but keep in mind that the cake won’t be as dark. To make the cake without tahini, use 100 grams of extra veg oil instead.

Do I have to use buttermilk in the cake batter?

For this recipe, yes you will need to use buttermilk. The acidity of the buttermilk is needed to make the cake rise (the buttermilk & bicarbonate of soda react when mixed together!).

How long will this chocolate sheet cake keep for?

This chocolate sheet cake is best eaten within 3 days. I’d recommend storing any leftover cake covered, at room temperature. Alternatively, for extra shelf life, store the cake in the fridge then bring back to room temperature before serving.

What size baking tin will I need for this cake?

For this sheet cake, you’ll need a 9″ x 13″ baking tin, that is around 2.5″ deep. I use a Nordic Ware tin, which I’ve linked below.

Baking Sheet Cakes In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas. Here’s how to cook this recipe in an Aga…

Bake the sheet cake on a grid shelf placed on the floor of the baking oven. 

Equipment Used

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Black Tahini Chocolate Sheet Cake

This black tahini chocolate sheet cake is moist, tender & full of flavour. Finished with a rich, chocolate fudge frosting, this one's hard to beat!
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Middle Eastern
Servings: 15 Portions
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • 9" x 13" Baking Tin (See Notes)
  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Sieve
  • Palette Knife

Ingredients

Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • 1 tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
  • 85 g Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder See Notes
  • 200 g Boiling Water
  • 275 g Plain Flour
  • tsp Baking Powder
  • tsp Bicarbonate Of Soda
  • 1 tsp Table Salt
  • 275 g Caster Sugar
  • 150 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 280 g Buttermilk At Room Temperature
  • 100 g Black Tahini
  • 50 g Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
  • 1 Egg Yolk

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 120 g Dark Chocolate 72% Is Best!
  • 50 g Dutch Processed Cocoa
  • 100 g Boiling Water
  • 200 g Unsalted Butter Softened
  • A Pinch Of Sea Salt
  • 250 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup

Instructions

Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • Preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (356°f/320°f).
  • Line a 9" x 13" baking tin with baking parchment then set aside.
  • Place the coffee granules & cocoa powder into a small mixing bowl then pour over the boiling water. Whisk until smooth then leave to bloom & cool slightly.
  • Next, sift the flour, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl then add in the salt & both sugars. Whisk to combine.
  • To the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk, tahini, oil, eggs, yolk & the cocoa & water mix. Whisk until combined & smooth then immediately pour into the lined baking tin.
    The bicarb will start to react as soon as the batter is mixed, so it's important to get it into the oven as soon as possible!
  • Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean then leave to cool completely, in the tin. This will take a couple of hours.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • Roughly chop up the dark chocolate then place into a small, heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate (either in a microwave or over a bain marie) then leave to cool completely.
  • Next, place the cocoa powder & boiling water into another small mixing bowl & whisk to combine. Leave this to cool completely as well.
  • Once your chocolate is cool, it's time to make the frosting. To do this, place the softened butter & pinch of sea salt into the bowl of a stand mixer then mix with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes, to combine.
  • Sift the icing sugar into the butter then continue mixing on a medium speed, until pale & fluffy. This will take 4-5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the mixing bowl regularly, with a spatula.
  • Add the golden syrup, the cooled down melted chocolate & the cocoa mix into the butter then continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, until well combined.
  • Scrape down the bowl & paddle with a spatula then give the frosting one brief, final mix.

Assembly

  • Spoon the frosting over the top of the cake then use a palette knife to spread out to each corner, creating swirls in the frosting as you do so.
  • Let the cake chill in the fridge for 15 minutes, to firm up the frosting slightly then cut into portions & serve.

Notes

1. Cooking In An Aga – Bake the sheet cake on a grid shelf placed on the floor of the baking oven. 
2. Storage – This cake is best eaten on the day that it was made. However, if kept covered at room temperature, this cake will keep for several days. Alternatively, for a few days extra shelf life, keep the cake in the fridge then bring back up to room temperature before serving.
3. Baking Tin – The baking tin that I use, is a Nordic Ware 9″ x 13″ baking tin. Any brand will work but make sure to use a tin that’s roughly 2.5″ deep.
4. Cocoa Powder – For the best flavour & colour, make sure to use Dutch processed cocoa powder in both the cake & frosting. This is available to buy in most supermarkets. If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend Green & Black’s.
5. Tahini – Feel free to use white tahini instead of black, if you’d prefer but keep in mind that the cake won’t be quite as dark. To make the cake without tahini, use 100 grams of veg oil instead.
6. Room Temperature Ingredients – Before making the cake batter, make sure that the buttermilk, tahini & eggs are all at room temperature. This is key to making a smooth, well combined batter. For the frosting, make sure that the butter is well softened & that the chocolate/cocoa are cool.

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